My dad has kept the same batch of sourdough starter going for over 36 years (even he can’t tell you exactly how old it is) and I grew up eating sourdough pancakes. I became such a pancake snob that all other pancakes are considered vastly inferior, if not just gross (except my grandmas banana pancakes….yum). On my parents most recent trip up north they brought yet another jar for me to nurture (in the many moves from apartments to different states etc I have lost or abandoned more than a few jars…) and I immediately threw it into action.
The first thing I did was make pancakes – duh. I can actually portion from memory but I’ve had the official instructions for years and with a little practice you can do the same thing.
The sourdough base can be used for anything from bread to pizza dough, to any other sourdoughy thing you can think of. It’s cheap and easy and each “strain” takes on it’s own specific characteristics. If you aren’t lucky enough to be able to pull from my dad’s stash, you can start your own starter. Many specialty stores carry the yeasty bits, or someone in a cold sourdough heavy place (like Alaska) could even mail you a postcard with the “just add water” components.
We don’t eat a lot of beef around our house because the whole feed lot/mass produced/unhappy/crisis of contamination thing scares me (and I honestly just feel bad for those poor cows). However, a few weeks ago we bought a side of locally raised, grassfed, yearling beef from a farmer out of Homer, Alaska. And let me tell you – it’s amazing. It just tastes, well, fresh! And not “grey” like I tend to think farm-factory beef tastes. We have steaks and roasts, and more ground than I think I’ve eaten in the last 10 years combined.
Last night we made the first batch of “americanized” beef tacos in ages and they were pretty fab.
2 tablespoons chili powder
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
This makes just over 1/4 cup of seasoning mix, and 1/4 is what you will need per pound of ground beef (also add 1/2 cup of water to the meat, etc, etc). Add a little math and you can make larger batches which will store well in a glass jar in the cupboard for a month or more!
It’s true. I finally did it. I managed to make an amazing pizza crust which was light, fluffy and delicious. My friend Ashley is the queen of all things homemade bread related, and even after a hands on demonstration I couldn’t replicate her pizza dough (I may have been drinking at the time, but whatever). I figured that I was fine with my hodgepodge mix of generic all purpose flour and random yeast. So wrong. After so many sad failed attempts, where my husband no longer pretended to say ‘good job’ I finally took the step and invested in the right ingredients: Bob’s Red Mill Bread Flour and Bob’s yeast (kept in the fridge). What a world of difference!!! We each made a pizza last night for Meatless Monday covered in veggies and fresh mozz cheese and I can’t wait for lunch so I can inhale my leftovers.
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. honey
2 tsp. dry instant yeast
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. water (approx.), divided
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Combine your flour, yeast and salt with a dough hook in the mixer. Add olive oil and honey and slowly start to add your water (you may not need all of it). Combine until the dough is still just a little sticky. At this point you can take it out and knead if you want, or be lazy like me and let the dough hook knead it for 4 or 5 minutes.
- Set on your heating pad to rise for approximately an hour (double the size). In an oiled bowl of course – not directly on the heating pad – duh.
- Cut the dough in half and start to roll out your pizza shapes on a well floured surface
- Rise the dough on the pan on the heating pad for 10 or 15 minutes while you cut up your ingredients
- Load your pizza with the everything you want and pop into a 425* oven for 10-15 minutes.
- Your crust will rise and be flaky and amazing and you’ll be patting yourself on the back!